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dominican flagWe’ve got a fresh podcast coming for you later this morning, a handful of rumor bits, and a discussion (both here, and in the podcast) about some Theo Epstein comments, but, until then, Bullets …

  • This week, scouts from every organization – including, among others, Tim Wilken from the Cubswill head to the Dominican Republic for showcases involving prospects who are eligible to sign in the next international amateur class (July 2). Recall, the Cubs will have the second most international dollars to spend next year, behind only the Astros. The Astros are expected to get a pool of about $4.9 million, so you can expect the Cubs’ figure to be just a touch under that. Last year, each team had a pool of $2.9 million. In other words: here’s hoping it’s a really great class at the top. (International pool money is also tradable, so that will also be something to watch.)
  • Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, and James Russell, the Cubs’ three remaining arbitration-eligible players, officially filed for arbitration. That’s just the normal step in the process, and is essentially meaningless. But it’s a thing that happened, so I mentioned it. The far more important step in the process comes on Friday, when the players and teams exchange salary figures (the player demands an amount, and the team offers an amount – and, if the case actually proceeds to arbitration, the arbitrator must select one of the two figures).
  • This is pretty cool: even if you can’t be at the Cubs Convention this week, CSN and CSNChicago are going to stream the Opening Ceremonies on Friday, which begin at 5pm CT.
  • Speaking of that, Rick Morrissey demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of what a fan convention is supposed to be about, all in service of ripping the Cubs for – God forbid! – wanting their fans to have some fun despite a miserable stretch of performances on the field. He also falls prey to the lazy old saw about brainless Cubs fans “who will see Rizzo this weekend and fall to [their] knees in homage. I remember how you threw yourself at Kosuke Fukudome, which, by the way, wasn’t your proudest moment.” With apologies, Rick, most Cubs fans allow themselves the nuanced position of simultaneously (1) desiring a winning team (and the attending moves, both short and long term) and (2) enjoying what there is to enjoy about the Cubs while we wait for that winning team to arrive. Wanting the Cubs to win doesn’t require a fan to hate everything about the team simply because they lost 101 games last year.
  • Hooray! The Cubs got an ESPN Sunday Night game this year – July 14 against the Cardinals. Here’s hoping they’re competitive, and see an in-season uptick in national games.
  • SI is grading each team’s offseason, and the Cubs come in for a B so far. The additions in the rotation and in the bullpen (primarily Kyuji Fujikawa) are generally praised, while the lone offensive addition – Nate Schierholtz – is regarded as pretty meh.
  • The Cubs’ “Core” also comes in for a grade from CBS, and that gets them a C+, in large part because so much of the prospective core is so young. Both grades seem pretty fair to me. Hopefully, by the end of the 2013 season – both big league, and minor league – that latter grade will be a fair bit higher.
  • The Vine Line Blog took a look at reliever Ty’Relle Harris’s 2012 season and Winter Ball performance. The 26-year-old righty was the victim of a hit-and-run in 2011, and there were questions at the time about whether he’d be able to walk again, let alone play baseball. So it’s been great to see him get back into the game, and have a successful 2012 season. He’s likely to open the year in the Iowa bullpen (though five of his eight appearances late in the year at Iowa in 2012 were starts), and we’ll see what happens from there. If you want a guy to root for, Harris is as good an option as any.
  • A profile on third base prospect Jesse Hodges, whom the Cubs signed as an undrafted free agent back in August. He’s another young man I’m really rooting for, admittedly in part because I like the idea that the Cubs were able to find a post-draft diamond that everyone else missed. That applies to a guy like Matt Iannazzo, too, who was also an undrafted free agent signing.
  • David DeJesus wrote a piece for the Sun-Times, about his time in baseball, and about the responsibilities he believes come along with that privilege. He talks about his upcoming fundraiser – a fashion show involving Cubs players called ‘Strike a Pose’ – which is taking place on Thursday. (As an aside, I think the DeJesus family has done a pretty great job raising awareness for their event, because I’ve seen information about it in a variety of ways, a variety of media, and in a variety of approaches. Either they’re just good, or they have a good promotional coordinator. Either way, well done.)
  • EQ76

    “the lone offensive addition – Nate Schierholtz – is regarded as pretty meh.”

    -that is exactly how I feel about the Schierholtz signing… meh..

    • CubFan Paul

      a 7 hole hitter shouldn’t even count. 60 wins, here we come

  • cjdubbya

    Here’s to hoping for another marathon podcast today…is it too much to ask for two hours?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s long, but not quite as long as last week.

      • RT

        That’s what she said?

  • ETS

    Never understood the Fukudome hate myself. Okay, he was not the power hitter promised, but you can’t tell me his plate discipline wasn’t contagious. It was the 2008 team’s ability to take pitches (one of the highest pitches/PA in baseball that year if I recall correctly). That 2008 team was pretty spectacular, just didn’t play well in sept/oct

    • hansman1982

      Then he went out and hit a HR in his first PA which cemented his “power” in many fans eyes.

      • Spriggs

        As I recall it was in the 9th inning (in the Cubs opener at Wrigley) against the Brewers that tied the game. Against a very strong wind. Who was the Brewers closer he hit it off? I can’t remember.

        • CubFan Paul

          it was late in the game. I’ve never heard Wrigley that loud with the FU-KU-DO-ME chants/stomping.

        • hansman1982

          You are correct sir, according to the box score:

          HR: K Fukudome (1, off E Gagne; 9th inn, 2 on, 0 outs to CF-RF).

          Damn my revisionist history!!!

          Either way, I remember that home run and it looked pretty wild at Wrigley when it happened.

          • hansman1982

            It tied the game in the 9th…

            I’ll give you a bunch of guesses who gave up the 3 runs at the top of the 9th and who blew the save.

            • Spriggs

              Woody

              • hansman1982

                sorry that was worded poorly – Woody is correct for the 3 runs…

                now who blew the game in the 10th?

                • Spriggs

                  I think Marmol pitched before Wood… so my guess would have to be Bobby Howry? If that’s wrong, my next guess would be Scott Eyre.

                  • hansman1982

                    Yup, yup and yup (to Bob-o).

                    Marmol was actually the best reliever in that game.

                    • Spriggs

                      Is there an easy way to look up game box scores from prior years?

                    • hansman1982

                      Baseball-Reference.com

                      Box Scores

                      Select year, then the calendar comes up. Select your date and then the score.

                    • hansman1982

                      Or if you aren’t sure of the date and don’t want to take random stabs in the dark,

                      go to the team’s franchise page, select the year and then hover over the Batting or Pitching tab. It should give you the game log option.

                      This will give you a listing of just that team’s games – you will still have to hunt a bit but you can get some details to make an educated guess.

                    • Spriggs

                      Awesome. Thanks!

                    • SirCub

                      OR if you know a player who played in the game, you can go to their B-R player page and click on their game log for that year. Find the game you want and click on the link to it.

          • ETS

            Maybe you were thinking of Castro’s first at bat? If I remember right that was a home run on a curveball away. It was nice because I think the announcers were saying the biggest challenge for Castro will be getting used to big league breaking stuff and pitches away.

            • hansman1982

              No, I just had a terrible memory about that game. I thought he led off and hit the HR. What in the hell was I smoking that day?

        • Galvan316

          The Answer was: Eric Gagne – I was at that game and I tell you the Fukudome legend was born.

          And lasted about id say 17 minutes,

          • Spriggs

            Yes, I remember now! I believe he had at least couple other hits (including one double) and a BB off Ben Sheets that day too. Man, I was a believer at that point.

            • SirCub

              I was a believer, too. It is kind of a shame though, that a guy who provided quality defense and consistently the best OBP on the team was considered such a disappointment.

              Like people were shocked that he didn’t maintain his 3.000 OPS. or something.

          • hansman1982

            Here is the entire Box score hit recap (or whatever this part of the box score is called):

            2B: K Fukudome (1, off B Sheets).
            HR: K Fukudome (1, off E Gagne; 9th inn, 2 on, 0 outs to CF-RF).
            HBP: M DeRosa (1, by S Torres) (SWOON).
            TB: K Fukudome 7; D Lee; F Pie.
            RBI: K Fukudome 3 (3).

        • SirCub

          Yup, it was off of Gagne. I remember going crazy over that. After all that hype, he’d already had a couple hits in the game, then that 9th inning jack. His debut is one of the most exciting I’ve ever seen. Probably better than Castro’s.

          I resent the fact that I should consider that excitement “not my proudest moment.” Was he overhyped? Yea. But was it fun? Hell yes.

          • CubFan Paul

            agreed SirCub.

          • hansman1982

            He may not have been worth the hype but the dude was good outside of the power.

            Career .359 OBP, a 13.5% BB rate, 17.6% K rate.

            2008-2010: .368 OBP, 14.6% BB rate, 17.4% K rate.

            Can we get another one of him to leadoff for us again?

            • ETS

              Are Dejesus’s #’s that far off?

              • SirCub

                His walk rate doesn’t even compare, but he does strike out a lot less than Kosuke, so it almost evens out as far as OBP’s concerned. They’re similar though. Doubles power, quality defense, good late approach. But at his peak, Kosuke was just better.

              • hansman1982

                Career OBP: .355
                BB Rate: 8.6%
                K Rate: 13.6%

                Similar career OBP, lower BB rate but lower K rate. 106 OPS+ for career compared to Fukudome’s 99.

          • Spriggs

            Funny about all the Japenese Fukudome headbands. Koske said that most people had them on upside down!

  • hardtop

    did anyone see sportscenter last night? in a piece about 9ers QB colin kaepernick, espn said the cubs recruited him much like samardzija. pretty interesting. id be more interested in having him on the bears personally. the kid absolutely shredded us this season.

    • hansman1982

      Is Kaepernick taking over for Tebow on ESPN?

      • SirCub

        Apparently ‘Kaepernicking’ is a thing aleady.

        • hansman1982

          Please tell me this involves people wearing parachute pants and doing the Macarana (sp?).

          • SirCub
            • SirCub
              • SirCub
                • SirCub

                  Wow, triple fail. That’s pretty epic.

                  • hansman1982

                    My work has blocked the picture but if this is what it is:
                    KaepernickingIn the 2012-13 NFC Divisional Playoffs between the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick celebrated a touchdown by flexing his right arm and kissing his bicep.[50] Afterwards, 49ers fans began posting photos online of them performing the pose, and Kaepernick had retweeted other fans’ photos of the pose on Twitter.[51] However, USA Today pointed out that Kaepernicking has been performed by athletes prior to the game, including wrestler Scott Steiner, Steve Nash, and Metta World Peace.[52]

                    It should be called Douchenozzle-ing

                    • hansman1982

                      Credit to Wikipedia for that.

                      And I GIS’d it and ya…

                    • SirCub

                      Agreed. It’s mildly upsetting to me that bending to a knee to pray, and kissing your bicep, are treated like the same thing.

      • Diesel

        I hate Kaepernick. Alex Smith got screwed and I have never been a fan of smith either

    • terencemann

      The Cubs drafted Kaepernick and tried to pull him away from football because most people thought he wouldn’t stick in the NFL.

  • Leo

    I invite you to watch the documentary Pelotero (The Baseball Player) it will give u a whole different view on what players from the Dominican go through to get signed It’s amazing MLB turns its head to the “mob like tactics” that they use to sign these guys. Kinda like the whole steroid thing turn your head till it’s out of hand then point the finger else where.

  • Mick

    A note on mlbtraderumors.com said that Hariston’s 2-year $8 million demand is for 2-years at $4 million per year and that the Mets countered with a 1-year $2 million offer. No wonder the Cubs are being mentioned, $4 million a year for a 2 WAR player, sign him up!

    • CubFan Paul

      eh@$4M a year for a guy who only hits LHP/would only play against LHP. Jeff Baker doesn’t have the power but I wouldn’t sign up for a .317 OBP versus LHP (.281 vs RHP) for $4M unless we’re contending. $2M is reasonable but i’d rather trade for another young LH masher like Sappelt

  • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

    B sounds about right.

    The failure to add a long-term piece for the outfield (so far. Hoyer’s comments the other day seemed to indicate they are basically done, but you never know if those can be taken at face-value or not) is a little disappointing, but they addressed the pitching well.

    I’ll be really disappointed if we don’t at least add another infield bench bat. It can’t be that hard to find a guy who can hit LH pitching a little and can play the corners, and this roster desperately needs it. It’d be such a cheap, easy fix that would probably save us a win or two and potentially more over another Mather situation. Failure to do that would be an indication to me that they are willing to tank this season at the first opportunity.

    • CubFan Paul

      “..that they are willing to tank this season at the first opportunity”

      but isn’t that a good thing for a club that’s not a 80-85 win team on paper (now)? I mean, a high draft pick, mucho IFA money for 2014, plus more Vizcainos/Villenuevas at the 2013 deadline outweighs winning in a transition year, correct?

      That’s how I see it (IF the plan is to field a 85 plus win team in 2014).

      • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

        It’s borderline 80, but if you want to win 80, you fill the easy-to-fill holes. Last year’s team could have won 75, but the first indication that they had no intention of it was when they left the bullpen empty and started giving jobs to guys like Mather.

        • CubFan Paul

          “..they left the bullpen empty and started giving jobs to guys like Mather”

          Agreed 100%, but who wants to win 80 games this year, i guess was my point.

          It would be nice, but we’re “rebuilding”, so they might as well leave a couple holes that’ll sink the ship early enough to justify to the ‘idiot fans’ the July sell-off.

          This has been ‘the plan’ all along, i’m done fighting it (fighting against Theo tanking purposely).

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      Really? The lack of a RH hitting bench bat that can back up at 3rd/1st is the difference between trying to be somewhat competitive and tanking?

      • CubFan Paul

        Yes Negative Nancy/Norm. Not fielding the team with competent players is tanking.

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          Well, call it a season then. They may have turned over 60% of their rotation, but they didn’t sign Ty Wigginton….

          • CubFan Paul

            somebody has to hit LHP..

  • Spencer

    The Cubs got exactly one Sunday night game last year too, and that’s only because they were playing the Red Sox and ESPN has a Yankees/Red Sox boner. Oh well, now I don’t have to be forced to watch the trash tv that is ESPN.

  • Beer Baron

    So the international pool money is tradable. Can those trades involve cash? In other words, could the Cubs trade a fringey prospect and cash to the Astros for pool cap space?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I actually don’t yet know the details because I believe pool money can’t be traded until the next year kicks in (July 2). But don’t hold me to that. In your proposal, though, I strongly doubt MLB would allow those kind of shenanigans.

  • Ralph

    What’s a Rick Morrissey anyway?

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